Top 25 Environmentalists Under 25 - The Starfish Canada (Canada)

“Canada’s Top 25 Under 25 celebrates and amplifies environmental leaders and solutions-based stories across the nation, with a focus on youth based initiatives. ”

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The Goal - 

Canada’s Top 25 Environmentalists Under 25 program recognizes and rewards young Canadian leaders working to create positive change in their community. Our aim is to connect and empower environmental leaders across Canada and provide them a national platform to share their stories and build relationships with other leaders.


The Solution - 

The Starfish Canada’s Top 25 Under 25 program celebrates and amplifies young environmental leaders and their stories across the nation. We receive a myriad of applications across Canada each year and our judges have the difficult task of selecting 25 youth to celebrate and lift up. We share the 25 finalists’ stories and community initiatives on our national platforms. We host an annual award show to celebrate these change makers for a night of fun and impactful storytelling. The 25 recipients have a chance to share their work with the community, and connect with other change makers. The award they receive goes beyond a trophy presentation - finalists join a community of engaged environmental leaders working to create positive change in their communities. Our finalists have had opportunities to write for a national platform, get mentorship and support from the organization’s co-founders, and build relationships with others environmental leaders and initiatives.


The Results - 

Now in its seventh year, we have amplified and connected over 270 environmental youth leaders and inspired hundreds of applicants to share their stories on our national platforms. The finalists have gone on to lead incredible initiatives in their communities, as well as join the Starfish community as guest writers, volunteers, judges for the program and board directors.


Insider Tips - 

  • Adaptability - we worked with past award recipients to continue to improve the program. One suggestion we got that transformed our program was to stop ranking finalists. This made the program less about competition and more about connection.

  • Relationship building - Developing relationships takes time and is a long-term process. We’ve built meaningful connections with our finalists and nominees that did not make it on the list. We have engaged with all of them to build community around the program.

  • Storytelling - telling the story of others has created a legacy of community-led conservation success stories beyond the program.


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